Since 2016 our Association, municipal culture center and the mayor of Brzesko have been organizing the annual project “We know your names” dedicated to commemoration of the pre-war Jewish community of Brzesko and vicinity. During the last edition of this project, two 8th grade students from one of Brzesko schools, Wiktoria Włodarczyk and Emilia Majdys, submitted a paper about Jews who used to live in the small village of Rudy Rysie.
The girls managed to speak to the person who still remembered his pre-war Jewish neighbours and write down his testimony:
“Due to the fact that more Jews used to live in the cities, and therefore their stories are better known, we decided to focus on two ordinary Jewish families living in one of the small villages in the Brzesko poviat. For this purpose, we interviewed a 98-year-old resident of the village Rudy Rysie who told us about the life of a Jewish family who used to own an inn, which was the main place for meetings of the local population. It was here that weddings or ordinary evening dances were held. It was the center of the social life of the village. This kind of inns were usually located by the main roads, could be found in practically every village and were usually run by Jewish families. The traveller could order a hot meal there and rest before travelling further. Jewish children attended school together with Polish kids of the same age, they spent breaks and played together…
There was also a second Jewish family in the same village, they spent much time together with those Jews from the inn. The family consisted of parents and three sons: Kołme, Haskiel and Icek. Members of both families prayed in a small prayer house, which was a wooden room, about 5 meters high. Only men came there. This small synagogue was located between the house and the barn of one of the families on the side road to Okulice. The man we interviewed also said that one of the brothers – Icek – went to school together with him…
All Jews from the area were taken to the ghetto in Brzesko, and no trace of them was ever found. They could have died of starvation in Brzesko, of suffocation during transport, in the gas chambers or of exhaustion while working in the concentration camps…
Hardly any material traces of their lives are left in the village. An elderly Polish couple lived in the inn for a few years, but after their death the inn fell into disrepair and is in ruins now. Nothing is left of the other house or that small synagogue… ” (From the paper by Wiktoria Włodarczyk and Emilia Majdys.)
It would seem that these fragments of memories are all that’s left of these two families, and it would be impossible to recreate anything else. But couple of days of research proved this assumption to be wrong.
In the documents from the archives of Karol Bernacki, digital copies of which are kept in the Brzesko library, there is information about war-time victims from the village of Rudy Rysie. Members of 2 Jewish families can be found on that list:
1. Bransdorfer Berek, around 55 years old
2. Bransdorfer Maria, wife, about 55 years old
3. Bransdorfer Chaskel, son, approx. 27 years old
4. Bransdorfer Kalma, son, about 20 years old
5. Finder Szajdla
6. Finder Berek, son
According to that document, they all perished in the Brzesko ghetto.
In the Yad Vashem database, you can find data on the fate of Finder family from Rudy Rysie. The surviving daughter of Yitzhak and Rachel Finder, Berta (Beila) Berger, submitted testimonies on the tragic death of her mother Rachel, four sisters and two brothers.
As it turned out, Jewish vital records from Szczurowa district, to which the families from Rudy Rysie had belonged, have also survived. Scans of birth records for the years 1906-1942 can be found on-line at www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl
Thanks to all these documents, we can save from oblivion two large families of Jewish residents of the village of Rudy Rysie. These people deserve to be remembered.
Isaak Finder was born in Przyborów on August 24, 1876; he was the son of Zacharia Finder and Sara Doba née Bruh. His parents lived to a ripe old age (his father was over 80 at the time of his death, and his mother died at the age of 94), were buried in Brzesko, and their matzevot have survived to this day.
Isaak Finder, a merchant and propinator, married Ruchel Krieger, 6 years his junior, and the couple moved to the village of Rudy Rysie, where they ran an inn. I could find the birth records of 8 children of this couple; I know that six of them were murdered in the Holocaust:
– Adela, 1907
– Ryfka, 1909, lived with her husband, Yitzhak Lerch, in the village of Drużków Pusty, murdered
– Mania, 1910, murdered
– Rykiel, 1912, murdered
– Scheindla, 1914, lived with her husband Isaak Jakob in Iwkowa, murdered
– Berl, 1918, lived in Dobczyce, murdered
– Beila, 1919, survived
– Zacharias, 1923, murdered
Berl Brandsdorfer was born in 1879, he was the son of Abraham Peretz and Cyrel Scheindel Brandsdorfer from Przyborów. There is a separate article on Abraham Brandsdorfer at the website: https://brzesko-briegel.pl/en/2020/08/08/abraham-brandsdorfer-2/
The matzeva of Berl’s mother, Cyrel Scheindel Brandsdorfer, has also survived at the Jewish cemetery in Brzesko.
In 1906, Berl Brandsdorfer married Feigla Steinlauf/Bruh from Mokrzyska, and after two years the family moved to the village of Rudy Rysie. Berl and Feigla Brandsdorfer had 5 children:
– Chana, 1907, lived in the village of Rudy Rysie with her husband Jozef Weitz and son Chaim born in 1931
– Moses, 1908
– Cyrel Scheindel, 1911 – this girl must have been named after her grandmother, who died in 1910
– Chaskiel, 1914
– Kalman, 1921
Did anyone from this family survive the war? All I know is that the parents Berl and Feigla and their sons Chaskel and Kalman were murdered…
The scraps of memories recorded by two teenage schoolgirls led to the reconstruction of the history of two murdered Jewish families. We won’t be able to bring them back to life, but we can remember. And light a candle, put a stone next to the graves of their ancestors at the cemetery in Czarnowiejska street. May the memory of all Holocaust victims be an eternal blessing.
© Anna Brzyska, 2022